Chicago Style Trash Talk

Well, now that the little Le’Affaire du Patraeus thing is over (just kidding, Pete Hoekstra promises more to come!), we can now get back to the important stuff: Trash Talk. This edition is served up Chicago Style because no city has had a better week. The reelection effort for hometown guy Obama, run out of Chicago by Axelrod and Plouffe came up roses and Obama gave his acceptance speech there.

But, even bigger and badder are Da Bears. Man, they are on a roll that is not getting enough attention in the football universe. The Bears are 7-1 on the year and just demolished the Titans last week. Urlacher is solid as usual and Charles Tillman is the second coming of Revis Island in their D-backfield. Who knows, he may schiz out at any time, but Jay Cutler and the offense are really clicking. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall are a big part of that. Together, it is a team that is just flat out scary right now.

Which is a good thing, because the other current league powerhouse, the Houston Texans are coming for a Sunday Night throwdown. This is far and away the game of the week, and it will tell us a lot about both teams as they start the second half of the regular schedule.

Some other random thoughts: Don’t look now, but with Thursday’s win over the hapless Jags, the Colts and Andrew Luck are 6-3. The Vikes and Kittehs game should be interesting; similar records, but moving in opposite directions as teams. The Lions are starting to settle in and the Vikes are unraveling slightly as of late after a surprising start. Cowboys at Iggles is another interesting game between two desperate teams, both of which should be better than they are.

In the land of “student athletes”, the one I most want to see is the total destruction of Alabama by Texas A&M and the amazing super frosh “Johnny Football”, Johnny Manziel. If you have not heard of this kid yet, you need to. He is flat out ripping it up in the big bad SEC.

The Aggies’ quick-tempo offense ran 97 plays and amassed 693 yards, gaining 361 on the ground and 332 through the air, in last Saturday’s 38-13 win over then-No. 15 Mississippi State. It was the fifth time this season Texas A&M racked up at least 600 yards.

Manziel completed 30 of 36 passes for 311 yards and ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns for the Aggies, who improved to 5-0 on the road. The freshman has now totaled 31 touchdowns and is averaging 383.2 yards of total offense, better than 47 FBS teams.

There is no stopping the Tide unless the Aggies do it today. Either way, it will be exciting to see how Johnny Football holds up to that smothering defense.

The clear game of the week for some particular denizens of this blog is the Fighting Journalists dropping in on the Wolverweenies. Man, the Bo Merlots have been vacillating between competent and horrid this year, and they looked so promising at the start of the year. The Journalists, on the other hand are a solid 7-2 and have the makings of one of their better seasons in a long time. Pat Fitzgerald is really a quality coach, you just have to wonder how long before he moves on to a bigger job. Other games of note are Oregon State at The Tree in Palo Alto, ASU at USC,

No Formula One this week, the next appearance of the Circus is at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas for the renewal of the US Grand Prix. However, there is huge news in the NBA: The Lakers up and fired coach Mike Brown after a painful 1-4 start to the season and an offense that was burying LA’s best players, Kobe and Steve Nash. Really, Brown had to go, so it was good to get it over with. Most prominent names bandied about as replacements are Phil Jackson (would be unlikely, but Jeannie Buss is his longtime love interest) and Mike D’Antoni who really knows how to use Nash from their collaboration in Phoenix. If Jackson won’t do it, I would love to see D’Antoni. Brian Shaw is also in play, but he is an assistant under contract elsewhere right now.

That is the rundown. Music by, who else, Chicago. It is easy to forget just how smoking good early Chicago really was. REALLY good. For my money, Terry Kath was, and remains, one of the most underrated world class guitar players ever. Check him out on Make Me Smile. The second selection, South California Purples is kind of a more obscure song, that I have always liked, off the band’s debut album when they were still Chicago Transit Authority.

Hoop it up folks.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
63 replies
  1. Starbuck says:

    Chicago is the one place you can be both Bullish and Bearish at the same time!

    So far as music, well growing up in Chi-town, you had to go far and wide to even match any musical genre available almost casually in Chicago. I briefly worked at the top independent recording studio in those days, Universal, and the list of wonderful performers showing up was breathtaking.

  2. Gulf CoastPirate says:

    Wait a minute – Manziel doesn’t have anywhere near Keenum’s numbers yet Keenum was a ‘system’ quarterback and Manziel, running the exact same offense is ‘something to see’? Bullshit. I hope Alabama wipes the floor with the Aggie’s asses. What’s going to happen is Manziel is going to get crushed by someone if he doesn’t stop running since he’s a small guy who doesn’t have Tebow’s size. When that happens and he has to run that offense more as a passer then we’ll see how good he is. Right now he’s in the 30’s in passing efficiency which is not good enough to produce wins in that type of offense.

    Andrew Luck has been very, very good. He’s going to be around for a long time.

    I’ll take the Texans in this one. Where, except maybe in the defensive backfield, do the Bears hold an advantage over the Texans?

  3. Peterr says:

    @Starbuck: You can also be Hawkish in Chicago. At least you can, once the lockout is ended (see scribe @1).

    And a big Amen to your comments about Chicago’s music.

    The Fighting Journalists — another Chicago team — are up on the Wolvereenies, but a UM TD has brought them back. It’s going to be a nailbiter, I’m afraid.

    As for the Aggies v Bama, put me down for the Aggies. A&M is playing with a chip on their shoulder as one of the newcomers to the SEC along with Mizzou. “They’re not a *real* SEC team” is the rap they’re getting, which Mizzou may deserve but A&M does not. They’d love nothing more than taking down #1 to put some of the smug southerners in their place.

  4. Peterr says:

    @Gulf CoastPirate: Owen Daniels is doubtful at best for Sunday, which really hurts the Texans’ passing game. It’s also going to be windy, rainy, and chilly at Soldier Field, which has to be a plus for Da Bears with Matt Forte and his rushing.

    Go Bears.

  5. Starbuck says:

    Blackhawk, Peterr, Blackhawk!

    My first hockey game,@Peterr: maybe age 9 or 10, the screaming was so loud, my ears rang for several days.(Hmm, the ringing is back!!)I didn’t go near a hockey game for many, many years, and now, only on TV.

  6. Peterr says:

    @Starbuck: I’m a Blues fan from the day they got a franchise in St. Louis. I have fond memories of several Dec 26th games against the Blackhawks — some people go shopping the day after Christmas, and others go to hockey games.

  7. Starbuck says:

    @Peterr: Chicago has the Blackhawks, Portland, the Winterhawks. Then there are the Oregon Ducks. From honking to screeching, what’s a guy to do?

    Make that quacking!

  8. Gulf CoastPirate says:

    @Peterr: Daniels is good but the guy behind him (Graham) is highly thought of and playing well. I doubt they resign Damiels when his contract comes up.

    You like Forte more than Foster and Tate? I’m not sure I’d make that choice even if I weren’t pulling for the Texans.

    Should be a good game though.

  9. Gulf CoastPirate says:

    @Peterr:
    ‘As for the Aggies v Bama, put me down for the Aggies. A&M is playing with a chip on their shoulder as one of the newcomers to the SEC along with Mizzou.’

    As bmaz knows I hate Aggies more than teabaggers but I’ve had a chance to watch Sumlin for a while now and you need to be wary of what he’s going to be able to accomplish in the SEC. We always had trouble with any team with good cornerbacks that could play tight on the outside. It seems as though the better SEC defenses all have those types of guys. I’m not a football expert but if they can’t get the ball to the outside it takes away a lot of the screen and motion plays that Kingsbury seems to favor. You can also see some of this in how WV is faring now that they are in Big 12 play. If those type teams can’t get to the outside then the linebackers just sit in the middle and keep everything in front of them (inicluding runs). We finally got around it some last year as Keenum’s long passing became more accurate so when people came up on us we just threw it over them. I’m not sure Manziel has those passing skills.

    Another example is when Oregon went down to play LSU and got worked over. Sumlin’s first years with us we got worked over a couple times a year by the same defensive schemes as teams like LSU and Alabama. I’m not sure Sumlin and that type of play is going to go over long term in the SEC. It’s exciting, its fun to watch and it can help a team with less capable athletes compete but the better teams in the SEC are going to catch on to it pretty quick. They’re going to end up like Arkansas and South Carolina – second or third in their division each year and that’s about it.

    Plus, they’re Aggies. Destined to be fuckups their whole lives.

  10. Starbuck says:

    @Gulf CoastPirate: Oregon doesn’t have an A&M, so the closest would probably be OSU. But they ain’t aggies, they are woodies!

    Ah well, 2 weeks to Civil War! At Reser this time. Corn Valley.

  11. rosalind says:

    and Stanford up 14-0 early against Oregon State behind red-shirt freshman QB Kevin Hogan in his first start.

  12. Gulf CoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: You’ll love this. The word down here is there are some UT big money boys that wouldn’t mind sending Mack up the ladder to retirement and bringing in Saban at a cool 10 mil per year.

  13. Peterr says:

    @bmaz:

    grumble grumble #^$%@(*#& grumble grumble

    They should have been starting that play from their five, not the 35. The punter should have put the ball out of bounds on the kick.

    grumble grumble ^#*%^#$% grumble grumble

  14. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: Same here.

    It’s not that I have any great love for the Aggies, but always enjoy seeing some “invincible” SEC team take it on the chin.

  15. Peterr says:

    @Gulf CoastPirate: At home at Soldier Field in the cold wind and rain, yes, I’ll take Forte.

    Da Bears lead the league in takeaways, and a wet and windy night is made for takeaways. They are #1 in INTs with 28, and have taken seven of them back for six.

  16. JohnLopresti says:

    Harbaugh’s outfit needs to consider the scouting work Singletary did, the former coach who had been a defensive back on the Bears. I got one of the most delightful evenings in a bar in my life watching Clayton and Duper loop thru the Bears. Everyone on the west coast disdains the Bears, but then there are the CalBears, different league. I even disliked the CalBears during my studenthood at UC Berkeley, but was not into sports in those days. Even the stolid Dolphins were a joy to watch embarrass Bears. Then there are the Giants, and good riddance to them, as well; one has to win the clincher game against Giants and leave it at that; the zebras never catch all the Giants do that is marginal. Be tricky, coach.

    Chicago the band was ok, brassy, choral. Lately I have been discovering the harp playing before James Cotton quit Muddy’s blues band. M. Waters band was doing blues in Chicago in the timeframe around 1960, which did not reach the NYC market where my high school ears were attuned. There was a real circuit from Mississippi to Chicago for musicians in that genre. About 6 years later I managed to get a job selling electric amplifiers and guitars in a discount store. By then I was listening, and carried my music department’s budget well,. even with lonely Friday evening sort of equipment. A few practices could teach wonders.

  17. marksb says:

    Saw Chicago when they were CTA, in late ’68, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for 2 bucks a head. They introduced themselves, said they’d moved to LA and recorded their first album and were going to give it another six months or so before giving up.

    Man they were good. I think my ears are still buzzing.

  18. marksb says:

    Did y’all see the comment on Wednesday (I wish I remember who said it):

    Romney’s campaign made as many mistakes as USC did at Oregon, with much the same result.

    Ha.

  19. Peterr says:

    @JohnLopresti:

    Mike Singletary was a linebacker, not a defensive back. As opposing QBs approached center and looked past the defensive line, his was the face they saw, right there in the middle. It was not a comforting sight.

    Rumor has it that more than a few QBs soiled their pants simply upon seeing Singletary across the line.

  20. Peterr says:

    @marksb: Back in the late 70s, the city of Chicago started a summer music festival called “ChicagoFest”. While in college with the rest of the Fighting Journalists, I went down to enjoy the music for several years in a row.

    Seeing the band Chicago play at ChicagoFest was the most incredible memory of all those shows. Talk about “home town crowd” . . .

  21. bmaz says:

    @marksb: Dude, I am SOOOOOO jealous! Holy crap, that must have blown your doors off coming out of nowhere like that. I did not first see them until 1975-76 or so, and it was an outdoor venue with shitty sound that couldn’t compensate for a really windy night. Still good, but less than optimal and the only time I saw them with Terry Kath.

    I had a similar experience with Van Halen in, I think, 1978. The local progressive rock station KDKB but on cheap shows for up and coming acts – always at either $1.93 or $2.93 a pop. Was out sipping cool ones by the pool and they announced a last minute show that night at the Celebrity Theater with this newfangled band that had just come out with a hard rock cover of the Kinks song You Really Got Me. So me and a couple of roommates went. HOLY FUCKING SHIT uh, it was transformational at the time. Just wow.

  22. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: @bmaz: They played a good game. THat Alabama play calling was atrocious.

    Now we may end up with Notre Dame in the national championship game.

  23. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: First the Fighting Journalists, and then the Tide. What a day for powerhouse teams to take it on the chin . . .

    (So to speak. Gotta take these opportunities when they present themselves.)

  24. rosalind says:

    @bmaz: Trees stump Beavers!

    ah, Chicago/Beach Boys. my first concert, 1975, Oakland Stadium. 60,000 sunburnt drunken fools. my private girl school junior high compatriots and I suitably chaperoned by Brenda’s mom.

    “Colour My World” instantly transports me back to my childhood bedroom, doing homework, listening to my cheap am/fm radio.

    and yes, this was my first BGP show and first time i looked around at the smiling staff and said “I want to go to there”.

  25. bmaz says:

    @Peterr: Come on man, it would have been an upset if the Bo Merlots beat the Fighting Journalists.

    Let’s put JOHNNY FOOTBALL in another league, even if just to poke at the Gulf Coast Pirate bear.

  26. Jim White says:

    I’m still coming down from that miracle finish for the Gators and now the Tide had to go and fuck up our plans. Our family was starting to really like the idea of going to the Sugar Bowl and now that path got a LOT more complicated when the damned Tide got rolled by Johnny Football.

  27. bmaz says:

    @Jim White: Admit it, along with Notre Dame, you Gators are some of the luckiest freaks on the face of the earth this year.

    Next year, when Will Muschamp cannot pull multiple losing games out of his ass, you wii be right back all over his ass. You KNOW you will!

  28. Jim White says:

    @bmaz: Mebbe. But today’s comeback was really interesting. They did it with Driskel injured when the offense hadn’t done much all game. Maybe it will get them back to playing the way they did against LSU and South Carolina. They were a very good team in those games and luck had very little to do with it. Not much luck at all in the LSU game and the breaks they got against Carolina were all turnovers they created, not gifts.

  29. emptywheel says:

    @Peterr: Are you sure it’s gonna be cold. Cause it’s downright balmy right now–60 degrees at night. Hotter tomorrow, THEN it gets cold. Though I guess Chi-Town gets all the weather before us.

  30. marksb says:

    @bmaz: I was 16, new license in my hand, a 40-horse ’63 VW bus with a fold-out camper bed, and LA in ’68 was, um, tripping. Concerts weren’t entertainment events so much as peak experiences. You can imagine what seeing CTA did to my head. Kath ripping on an SG! Horns! Hammond B4! And of course a light show.
    My what a time to come of age.

  31. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @emptywheel: What are you – some kind of liberal or something? This is UT we’re talking about. Who cares how many students have to become collateral damage to get Saban down here?

    :) – Sarcasm alert and all that ….. :)

  32. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: I have no idea but I’m guessing the Whorns would give him millions and millions of reasons if he needed them.

    However, since you asked let’s speculate a little. The SEC has had a good run but as a old physics major I understand that everything runs in cycles. The sine wave theory if you will. After Alabama how good are their following teams? Let’s say LSU, Georgia, Florida and now maybe A&M. They’re OK but meh. Nothing to write home about and if you take the 2nd – 5th place teams in the Big 12 or Pac 12 odds are you get a split. Simply not enough offense in the SEC.

    At the same time you read some of this you notice stories in the local papers more than once that maybe the Whorns and ESPN aren’t so high any longer on this Longhorn Network thing. Mack says it wasn’t his idea and besides, he doesn’t like them snooping around at practices. Wasn’t it the LHN that prevented their move to the PAC 12 where they really want to be? They like the idea of association with schools like Stanford, UCLA and Cal-Berkeley. We all followed the election results and the Whorns want no part of being associated with all those schools in the old confederacy. Keep Austin weird and all that. That’s fine for A&M; in fact, they fit in perfectly. Not good enough for the Whorns though.

    The A&M move did cause them a couple of problems though. Will the Aggies be able to recruit a little better now that they’re in the SEC? Will they be poaching any recruits the Whorns want? Could be so you take down both the SEC and A&M by bringing in Saban. Plus, if the LHN thing isn’t going to work out and ESPN already has some rights to the PAC 12 can’t a deal be worked out for OU and UT to head west if a smaller Big 12 doesn’t work out in the future? The PAC 12 wouldn’t love to have those two? That would be a pretty sweet conference with the potential for a lot of eyeballs watching on TV.

    Then, when has Saban ever stayed very long anywhere? From the Whorns perspective you could give him 15 million and it would still be worth it just to kick sand in the Aggie’s faces.

  33. JohnLopresti says:

    BC bettered the margin predicted with Notre Dame, that conservative school., yesterday.

    I was an earlier generation, though, re: the LA trek: I got a ride there with a friend in 1968 to see Ravi Shankar at the Hollywood Bowl. It seemed too distracted. His spirit emerged better in San Francisco’s Masonic Auditorium on Nob Hill.

    Though I knew some coastal fishermen who liked Chicago, between rockfish and among pirate swag. I spent a foreboding 2 weeks in north Chicago the year of the Tet draft. Now it’s new horizons, new keyboard, extraordinary synthesized sound. We did well, one supposes. There’s a long way to go. And I never had to do concerts. People would go to dance. Then opsis set in.

    And, yes, peterr, I knolw Singletary played left cornerback.

  34. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @bmaz: Yea, that would be a nice legacy.

    I read a story not too long ago that you probably would have liked. Sorry I didn’t think about you.

    For all the fun we like to make of the Whorns they are a money making machine. Whereas most schools would love to break even and many more would love to not have to pull athletic department deficits out of general revenues the Whorns AD gives millions to the school for academic purposes every year.

    Anyway, some guy is sitting in a restaurant here in Houston when Mack and his wife walk in. They glad hand in the bar for a few minutes and then the big, black limos with the fat cats start to pull up. Small talk time is over. As the fat cats pull in they are all escorted off to a private room for dinner, etc. It was Mack having to answer to the fat cats. Said it was like a mafioso scene. Mack having to explain to the five families how he fucked up their operations in Toledo or Pittsburgh. I laughed pretty hard.

  35. 4jkb4ia says:

    Despite the fumble on the kickoff return and the stupid delay of game penalty, a tie is a moral victory when you were predicted to lose by 11. That Kaepernick person can play. It will be interesting to see what the Bears do to him next week.

  36. 4jkb4ia says:

    @Peterr:

    A&M’s success makes it look like even a worse decision for Mizzou to have joined the SEC. They had a perfectly respectable program in the Big 12, that took so much effort, and they have turned into a pumpkin again.

  37. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @Peterr: You could be correct but I read differently. Not saying that is correct though. Personally I’d rather see Kan St – Oregon rather than ND versus either of those two.

Comments are closed.